‘Burn’ spoiler-free review!

Hello lovelies 🙂 Today, I’m wishing the happiest of book birthdays to Patrick Ness and Burn! Patrick Ness is one of my favourite authors and this book was one of my most anticipated of the year. Huge thanks to Walker Books for providing me with a free ARC to review!

burn book review


synopsis

In 1956 Sarah Dewhurst’s father shocks her by hiring a dragon to work the farm. The dragon is a smaller blue rather than the traditional larger reds, though even the reds are now scarce. When the blue dragon, Kazimir, unexpectedly saves Sarah and her friend Jason Inagawa from the attentions of the racist police deputy, Kelby, everything changes. Sarah is part of a prophecy and she must escape the clutches of Malcolm, an assassin from a Believer Cell, the dragon-worshiping cult. When Sarah, Malcolm, and Kazimir eventually converge, they are thrown into another universe, where dragons seem never to have existed. Can they save this world and the one they left?


my thoughts

I have never read a Patrick Ness book that I didn’t love. And I’m delighted to say that this one was no different. It reminded me of that magical feeling I got when I read the Chaos Walking trilogy. There is just something about this author’s writing that I connect with so much. Ness has that rare ability to make you feel like you are being told a story by a friend but at the same time capturing that old mythology feeling. I honestly don’t know how to put it into words – but I love it. 

Ness is fantastic at creating characters. As a reader, I love to hate his villains and find it fascinating to see how they justify their actions as ‘righteous’. Equally, the heroes in a Patrick Ness book are always a joy to root for. When reading Burn, I felt so invested in the lives of Sarah and crew, and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. In saying that though, nothing is merely black and white, and I loved how Ness used parallel worlds to show how there is always more to a person than meets the eye.

One of the things I love about this author’s books is that there is always something a little bit out of the ordinary. And in this case, it’s DRAGONS. But not just any old dragons. I can’t say any more because this is really a book you need to experience for yourself! Seriously though, I genuinely cannot stress enough how much I loved this storyline. There were plot twists in abundance that I honestly didn’t see coming. It just had everything I could have wanted and I didn’t want it to end. Please go read it, and experience this brilliant story for yourself!

burn patrick ness


Are you a fan of Patrick Ness? If so, which of his books is your favourite? Is this one on your TBR? Let me know in the comments! xsignature (2)

‘Cursed’ spoiler-free review!

Hello my lovelies. I’ve been considering taking a short blogging hiatus as I just don’t feel I have the mental energy for it right now, what with working, studying for two diplomas, and just generally trying to survive a global pandemic, you know? I’m still debating it. I’d like to get my April wrap-up posted for the sake of the completionist in me but we’ll see. Just wanted to start this post being totally honest with you all! I can barely keep up with my own blog right now and I’ve been horridly neglectful of YOUR blogs and I hate that. I can only apologise and hope that my mental energy will return at some point.

Anyway. I realised that I had totally forgotten to post my review of Cursed, an anthology of fairytale inspired short stories which was sent to me by the fantastic people at Titan Books! So, that’s what I’m bringing you today. As I usually do for anthologies, I’ll give you some brief thoughts on each story as well as a general feeling about the collection as a whole!

cursed book review


synopsis

Fairy tales take a weird twist in this anthology compiling stories from an all-star cast of fantasy writers, including stories from Neil Gaiman, Charlie Jane Anders and Alison Littlewood.

Here in this book you’ll find unique twists on the fairy tale conceit of the curse, from the more traditional to the modern – giving us brand new mythologies as well as new approaches to well-loved fables. Some might shock you, some might make you laugh, but they will all impress you with their originality.


my thoughts

As Red As Blood, As White As Snow by Christina Henry

Kicking things off with one of my favourite authors! And she did not disappoint me. Christina Henry’s writing was fabulous as always and I loved the mix of elements within the story. It was a fantastic twist on well-known fairytales and had a very satisfying conclusion.

 

Troll Bridge by Neil Gaiman

And another of my favourite authors! Can you see why I was so excited for this anthology? 😉 This was classic Gaiman with great scene setting and wonderful themes. The only problem was I wanted it to be longer!

 

At That Age by Catriona Ward

I liked this story more than the author’s contribution to the Wonderland anthology. It was very dark and ominous for the duration, but I enjoyed it!

 

Listen by Jen Williams

I loved this one! It had a fantastic concept and gorgeous writing, plus it was musically themed which you know is always a winner with me!

 

Henry and the Snakewood Box by M. R. Carey

This was an interesting story that gave me Good Omens vibes. I appreciated the humour but things didn’t quite feel fully developed.

 

Skin by James Brogden

Wow, this was DARK. It was an uncomfortable story to read at times, both thematically and due to some long clunky sentences. But it definitely packs a punch!

 

Faith and Fred by Maura McHugh

This one was very enjoyable. It felt well developed, like a proper story with a beginning, middle and end. Plus it was wonderfully Gothic!

 

The Black Fairy’s Curse by Karen Joy Fowler

The writing in this story felt a bit repetitive; a lot of the sentences felt the same length which made for a quite monotonous tone. However, the twist at the end was very interesting!

 

Wendy, Darling by Christopher Golden

Ok, what an amazing take on a well-known tale! This was both harrowing and unexpected.

 

Fairy Werewolf vs Vampire Zombie by Charlie Jane Anders

Unfortunately, this is my second experience of Anders’ writing and I don’t think it is for me. This story was just a bit too weird and I felt like it was trying way too hard to be cool.

 

Look Inside by Michael Marshall Smith

I kind of liked this one? But I found the end confusing. Not too sure what to make of it.

 

Little Red by Jane Yolen & Adam Stemple

This was another ambiguous story. I liked it but it should definitely have a trigger warning for self-harm so please take care if you decide to read.

 

New Wine by Angela Slatter

This was the only story in the anthology that I couldn’t finish. I just didn’t understand what was going on or what the point was. It felt dull and meandering. I will give a disclaimer though: I was in the middle of this story when the Covid-19 situation really took a downturn so my mental health may have had an impact on how I read this one.

 

Haza and Ghani by Lilith Saintcrow

This was an interesting take on the story of Hansel and Gretel. There was some gorgeous writing but it was another super dark story.

 

Hated by Christopher Fowler

Now, this one was fantastic. It was gripping from the outset and the plot progressed perfectly to a brilliant ending.

 

The Merrie Dancers by Alison Littlewood

This story was good but felt a little underdeveloped. I liked that it was ‘told’ in the way of traditional fairytales but I wanted more from it.

 

Again by Tim Lebbon

This was a bit gruesome at first but I settled into it and found it to actually be an interesting story that was quite poignant.

 

The Girl From Hell by Margo Lanagan

The final story in the anthology was a bit disappointing to end on. I didn’t really get it. The writing was too flowery for me (and you know that’s not something I say lightly because I normally love a bit of purple prose!)

 

The anthology, like Wonderland, was book-ended by two poems by author Jane Yolen, both of which were great.

Overall, this was a mixed bag, as all anthologies are. However, I feel like there were far more hits than misses in this collection! I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to fans of dark fairytales.

cursed


Let me know in the comments if you’ve read this one! xsignature (2)